CFI awards $77.5M to help major USask science facilities to address COVID-19

Two of Canada’s top science facilities at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have been awarded a total of more than $77.5 million—a third of the total $230 million announced today by Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains for 14 research facilities across Canada.

The Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron and SuperDARN (Super Dual Auroral Radar Network) Canada were awarded the funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives Fund, which ensures Canada’s large, national research facilities have the support needed to operate and stay on the leading edge of research.

The CLS, Canada’s only synchrotron light source and an invaluable tool for innovative science in advanced materials, agriculture, environment and health, was awarded $76.9 million in federal funding for operations and maintenance to the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

CLS COVID-19-related research is focused on three main areas:

  • imaging molecular structures of the virus’s key proteins to aid drug development,
  • understanding the virus’s physical behaviour and transmission including visualizing virus-carrying droplet transmission in the air, and
  • improving equipment for COVID-19 frontline workers, such as microfabrication techniques for virus testing devices and studying the decomposition of N95 face respirator masks to improve decontamination and manufacturing practices.

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